Mar 27, 2018
Disability Law Colorado strongly opposes Senate Bill 18-015, which allows owners or owner’s agents to engage police in removing allegedly ”unauthorized” tenants from an owner’s premises with only an few hours’ notice. It requires a sworn declaration by the owner or agent and ultimately indemnifies the police throughout the entire process.
HOW THIS BILL AFFECTS PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES – This bill provides a very concerning exception to our current, very expedient eviction process. It ultimately leaves tenants in a position where they are removed from their housing without any formal process, reasonable notice, or adequate legal protections. We have three main concerns about this bill:
- We are aware of many landlord tenant agreements that are not in written form. The proposed bill would provide no protections for tenants with verbal housing agreements and actually puts them at a specific disadvantage as the only opportunity to contest the owner’s declaration is through “credible evidence.” Without a written agreement, the “reasonable opportunity to provide credible evidence” established in the bill is a fallacy.
- Although we acknowledge that peace officers can be instrumental in legal processes, we are concerned that this bill places peace officers in a position as arbiters of an eviction process with prohibitively limited information and time.
- This bill provides an exception to an already established eviction process. This exception will have significant negative impacts on all tenants, but especially tenants with disabilities. Colorado’s current eviction process provides for a three day notice period in which a tenant can leave the property without having to engage in an eviction proceeding. Even if the tenant does not leave within the notice period, the entire eviction process in Colorado takes, at a maximum, a mere 22 days (three weeks). This process is sufficiently expedient and already favors landlords and homeowners in its effectiveness and timeliness. In addition, there are already established legal protections for owners and landlords to guard against trespassing, civil and criminal.
View the entire Position Statement on Senate Bill 18-015 here: LINK